An explosion followed by fires affecting multiple residences in an apartment complex in Hsinchu County this morning left at least two people injured, and was caused by over-pressurized gas lines, the local gas company said.
Hsinchu County Fire Department received reports of an explosion, and reports of gas leaks and fires at multiple locations around Sanmin Road, Zhongzheng East Road, and Boai Street, in Zhubei City at around 8:00 am. HCFD said that it had recorded 15 cases of gas leaks, and 12 fire cases. An explosion occurred in an apartment building at 215 Zhongzheng Road, and smoke was seen billowing from windows from the 9th to 11th floors of the building.
According to reports, hundreds of residents evacuated the building on their own, and 12 were rescued by firefighters. A 16-year-old male resident of the apartment where the explosion occurred was seriously injured, and sent to hospital with with first and second degree burns to around 90% his body.
A representative of the Hsinchu Gas Company said that gas lines had become over-pressurized after foreign matter caused damage to the membrane of an axial flow valve. According to the spokesperson, pressure in the pipes was up to five times greater than normal.
Hsinchu County Fire Department urged the public to stay away from the scene of the fires, and not to gather and watch. HCFD also urged people to avoid using gas appliances until repairs are completed, and not to smoke in the vicinity.
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